By KTLA News
MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) — A Moreno Valley School Board member embroiled in a pimping scandal is planning to run for the City Council, insisting he’s done nothing wrong and is being set up.
Mike Luis Rios, 42, pulled nomination papers and intends to run in District 1, which Councilman Jesse Molina represents.
Rios pleaded not guilty in April after being arrested on suspicion of rape, pimping and pandering.
He was already facing attempted murder charges in connection with a shooting, which he says happened after two men followed him home after a confrontation at a bar.
Rios insists that he’s innocent and is being framed by corrupt city leaders who he has threatened to expose.
“There’s a certain developer in our city who basically has most of the council bought and paid for in our city,” Rios told KTLA in an exclusive interview. “Those who are in power will tell the sheriffs what to do.”
Rios says that his trouble with the law began when he ran for the Moreno Valley School Board. He came in first place and says he started fighting for change.
“This is what they don’t like, because I do it publicly, I do it on camera and I let the people know what’s happening in our city,” Rios said.
In February, Rios says he was followed by two men to his home, who pointed a gun at him.
After calling 911, Rios says he fired his gun in self-defense. He was later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Rios resisted pressure to resign from the school board.
Then, two months later, he was arrested again — this time on suspicion of raping two women, pimping and using his position on the school board to recruit prostitutes.
“When the truth comes out, people will know that I’m innocent, because I am,” Rios insisted.
Rios has a number of supporters, many of whom have signed a petition so he can run for city council.
“I’m running for council becasue I’ve done nothing wrong, absolutely nothing wrong,” Rios told KTLA. “I know I’m going to get elected,” he added.
The election for City Council will be held on November 6.
Candidates have until August 9 to qualify for the ballot. They must file a declaration of candidacy and sign an oath.
If he’s elected to the Moreno Valley City Council, Rios would have to give up his seat on the school board, which he’s held since 2010.
The school board passed a resolution requesting his resignation, but Rios has remained steadfast in his refusal to step down.
The Moreno Valley Democratic Club has been collecting signatures for months to recall Rios. They need to collect 10,000 signatures by October.
Member Ruthee Golkorn told KTLA that the best thing would be for Rios to step down from the school board immediately.
“It is definitely a black eye on the city,” Goldkorn said. “Parents have said they’re not enrolling their children, pulling their children — it’s econ 101.”
Rios is currently free on $500,000 bail. He was ordered not to have contact with children as a condition of his release.
However, a judge modified that order so that Rios could attend school board meetings, even though children might be present.
The school board says Rios will not attend the student demonstration portion of meetings, and that a uniformed police officer will be present at all meetings.
Rios’ next court appearance is scheduled for August 10.